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GM self-driving unit Cruise names new CEO as it seeks turnaround

By Thomson Reuters Jun 25, 2024 | 3:19 PM

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors robotaxi unit Cruise said on Tuesday it has named a former xBox founding engineer as the new CEO of automaker’s self-driving vehicle company.

Marc Whitten will take over as chief executive on July 16, Cruise announced. Cruise has had two co-presidents running the company since Kyle Vogt resigned last year amid the fallout after an accident involving one of its driverless vehicles in California.

Whitten was a founding engineer at Xbox and Xbox Live and was general manager and vice president at Amazon.com across a range of entertainment devices and services and held other positions at Sonos and Create at Unity.

GM separately also said Craig Glidden will remain president and chief administrative officer at Cruise but will step down from his role as GM’s chief legal and public policy officer.

GM said Grant Dixton, who previously served as the chief legal officer of Activision Blizzard and as general counsel at Boeing, will become GM’s chief legal and public policy officer on July 15. Glidden will also serve as executive vice president and strategic advisor at GM.

Cruise has lost more than $8 billion since 2016 and has faced a series of challenges since last October, when California revoked its permit to operate driverless vehicles after an accident in which one of its robotaxis struck a pedestrian and dragged her 20 feet (6 meters).

The Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating Cruise.

Since the accident, Cruise has fired nine executives. Then Vogt and company co-founder Dan Kan both resigned, and Cruise cut a quarter of its staff.

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission said Cruise would pay the maximum fine of $112,500, which is $7,500 for each of the 15 days during which Cruise withheld information about the incident after the company had offered to pay it and boost information sharing.

Since April, Cruise has resumed supervised autonomous driving Phoenix, Houston and Dallas, in addition to its ongoing testing in Dubai.

Cruise also Tuesday said it hired Rivian’s global communications head Nick Mulholland as its chief communications and marketing officer.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Will Dunham)